The holiday party invites can seem never-ending–starting with Thanksgiving and running right until New Year’s Eve. While one night of overeating is not an issue, it becomes a problem when it happens multiple times a week. With frequent gatherings and celebrations, healthy eating habits often go right out the window. Try these holiday wellness tips to help you navigate your next holiday party and avoid overeating or overdrinking.

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  1. Eat what you love, leave what you don’t. Choose your indulgences wisely, and don’t just eat a food because it is there. Think about which foods you most enjoy, and ones you can do without. Not crazy about mashed potatoes? Skip them to leave room for the freshly baked rolls. Instead of eating foods that you can have any time of the year, pick items that are special and unique to the season, like your child’s first batch of Christmas cookies.
  1. Only eat from a plate. This is a good rule to follow year-round, but it is especially important during holiday parties. Never eat directly from a serving bowl, bag or box; instead, put a portion of the food onto a plate. This will help you eat more mindfully.
  1. Step away from the buffet. Once you’ve put your food on a plate, walk away from the buffet. Don’t stand near food that is easy to munch on mindlessly, like bowls of candy, chips or pretzels. Step away from the food, and go chat with someone instead.
  1. Alternate alcohol with water. Alcohol calories add up quickly. For example, a five-ounce glass of wine has 120 calories; drink four glasses, and you’re already at 480 calories – just from alcohol. Alternate each drink with one to two glasses of water. Not only will this keep you hydrated, but it will slow your drinking pace, and make it easier to stick to just one or two alcoholic beverages.
  1. Load up on veggies. When you get to a party, the first thing you should do is fill up a small plate with vegetables. If it’s a sit-down dinner, aim to have vegetables on at least half your plate. Vegetables are low in calories but high in fiber, so they help to fill you up. This means you can have smaller portions of more indulgent foods and still feel full.
  1. Don’t skip meals. It can be tempting to skip a meal and “save up” for a holiday party or dinner. One word: don’t. While you may be trying to save calories, this will backfire. Skipping meals causes your blood sugar levels to drop, and you’ll feel so hungry that you’ll be more likely to overeat or eat things you normally would avoid.

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